Within hours, there’d be a storm, and it would be one that a flimsy catamaran like Landred’s could not survive on open water. With his bold brown eyes he could already see the incoming ply of rain. The pilot did too, but didn’t react; unphased by bad weather, or well-used to it.
Landred considered asking the man if they ought to be worried, but he decided not to. He doubted he’d get a straightforward answer anyway. He watched the Northerner toil away in the cold air as if that too didn’t bother him.
The second passenger, the helmsman’s young daughter, eyed Landred inquisitively. She seemed interested by the foreigner, and beamed whenever he gave her a glance.
In the old Karkivol tongue the girl inquired after nearly a whole day of silence, “Why do you hide your face?” referring to the indigo robes Landred had wrapped himself with, and a matching cloth over his head.
Landred looked to his pilot. The man didn’t seem to mind his daughter engaging in conversation, so Landred replied with a half-truth, “The frigid clime.”
“Can I see it? Your face?”
Still not seeing any indication of protest from her father, Landred decided to remove the tagelmust, and slowly unwound the long cloth to reveal his tawny skin, and dark curls on his chin and the top of his head.
The girl giggled and then pried further, “Are you from the south?”
Landred nodded in agreement, smirking as he did.
“Are you an Aein?”
“Yes. From Massaid.” Landred began rewrapping the cheche around his head.
“Then why are you here? Are you lost?”
For a moment he thought about the right way to answer, and not because the language was complex, but because he had never thought of the question. A moment later he replied, “Yes. I’ll be looking for my home soon enough.”
“You can start looking there,” and the girl pointed out to sea. Landred saw land on the horizon, which he assumed to be the coast of Stockaah.
Finally, thought Landred, I can pick up the trail. They had made surprisingly good time on the catamaran.
He had already travelled far, yet had seen nothing but water. From Artum to Ripkin, to Ravul to here. Wherever here is. The fog was inland, and dusk was rearing so it made distinguishing a landmark difficult.
“What is this place?” Landred decided to ask.
“Tovul. The Lord Josaa lives here.”
“Mida!” said the girl’s father suddenly, disabling her from an answer. And he didn’t say anything else, he merely pointed, and she began to assist with the boating as they prepared to alight.
Landred looked over his shoulder at the deathly clouds and deluge, and could see the fire within, feel the rumble, and the wind begin to pick up. However with Stockaah in sight, Landred felt more at ease, and knew the tempest couldn’t make landfall before them.